Preston Stables’ Flat Out headed for the main track at Churchill Downs Sunday morning a little after 7 o’clock for “a strong gallop to put air in his lungs,” according to trainer Scooter Dickey.
With jockey Greta Kuntzweiler up, Flat Out was given credit for a mile work in 1:43.60 by Churchill Downs clockers. Fractions for the move were :13.80, :27, :39.60, :52.20, 1:04.80, 1:18, 1:31.20 and out a mile and an eighth in 1:58.40.
“I got him in 1:43 and it was just what we wanted,” Dickey said. “Greta handled it perfectly. If it had been a real work, no telling what he would have done, maybe 1:39 or 1:40, by himself.
“I have done this before. At Monmouth, it probably would have been 1:39, but I know that track is faster. I have another week to figure out what I want to do next, but it will be nothing like this. This is what he does. He loves to train.”
Winner of the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup in his most recent start, Flat Out figures to be one of the main contenders for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) to be run Nov 5.
A victory in the Classic would cap off what has been a year of good fortune for Dickey, who has five horses in his care at Churchill Downs.
“I’ve been thinking about this a lot, that this has to be my year,” Dickey said. “I survived the tornado when it hit here in June, survived the hurricane (Irene) at Monmouth Park and I was sitting in the airport with (Tampa Bay Downs racing secretary) Allison De Luca when the earthquake hit the East Coast and it knocked us off our chairs.
“This is exciting. It is building. More people are coming in and more people are calling. I’ve got five good horses I get to come out to every morning and I like that.”
ROYAL DELTA, TO HONOR AND SERVE WORK FOR MOTT – Pailides Investments N.V. Inc’s Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic hopeful Royal Delta and the Live Oak Plantation’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) prospect To Honor and Serve worked early Sunday morning on the main track for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
Working first was Royal Delta, with exercise rider Rodolphe Brisset up. Winner of the Alabama (GI) and runner-up in the Beldame Invitational (GI) in her most recent start, Royal Delta covered five furlongs in 1:02.60 with fractions of :14, :27, :38.60, :50.40, out six furlongs in 1:15.20 and seven-eighths in 1:29.80. The five-furlong move was the 23rd fastest of 47 at the distance over a fast track.
Brisset then came out with To Honor and Serve and the Pennsylvania Derby (GII) winner covered five furlongs in 1:02, the 14th fastest of 47 at the distance. Fractions for the work were :13.40, :25.40, :37.80 and :49.60 with out times of 1:15.60 for six furlongs and 1:31 for seven-eighths.
Mott, who has saddled six Breeders’ Cup winners including Unrivaled Belle in last year’s Ladies’ Classic here, liked the works.
“Royal Delta finished up well and galloped out good. She progressed as the work went on and her last three-eighths was in 35 and change. She moves well over the track,” Mott said. “To Honor and Serve worked very well. He has had two nice works here and it looks like he moves well over the track.”
Mott has five likely Breeders’ Cup runners here in Barn 19 and two of them worked Saturday: Drosselmeyer (Classic) and Birdrun (Marathon) in 1:01.20 for five furlongs. Courageous Cat, runner-up to Goldikova in the 2009 TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) and a neck away from being unbeaten in three 2011 starts, is scheduled to work on the grass Monday.
"This is where I want to be,” said Mott, who has been at Churchill Downs nearly two weeks and away from his main base at Belmont Park. “All the horses are doing well, but then they have to do it in the afternoon. I have a good feeling. They are all eating well and moving well over the track.”
WORKMATES MISSION IMPAZIBLE AND AIKENITE BREEZE HALF-MILE – The Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Mission Impazible and Aikenite breezed a half-mile together over a fast Churchill Downs track Sunday morning. Mission Impazible stopped the clock in :48.20 and Aikenite finished about a length behind in :48.40.
The two 4-year-old colts ran evenly through fractions of :12.20 and :24 and then Mission Impazible, on the outside, slowly edged away from his workmate during the final quarter-mile. Mission Impazible galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.60 with Aikenite about four lengths behind in 1:02.40.
“We’re happy with the way both horses worked and they were certainly on their toes,” assistant trainer Michael McCarthy said. “Mission Impazible is a tremendous workhorse and definitely has an affinity for this racetrack. Aikenite likes this track as well, but he’s not a great worker. We expected Mission Impazible to finish a little better and Aikenite tends to come off the bridle when he’s inside of another horse.”
The plans for Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite are still undecided, while the schedule for Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC’s Mission Impazible this fall is clear.
The next start for Aikenite, who won this year’s running of the Grade II Churchill Downs by a nose over Apriority on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard, remains uncertain. The dark bay or brown son of Yes It’s True will run in the $1.5 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) or the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI).
“He could run in either race, but I believe we are leaning toward running in the Sprint,” McCarthy said. “It’s a possibility that he will be pre-entered in both races.”
Pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup World Championship races close Monday.
“Mission Impazible is going to the Fayette (GII),” McCarthy said. “It should set him up nicely for the Clark.”
The Fayette at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack will be the feature race on Keeneland’s closing-day program Oct. 29, while the $500,000 Clark Handicap (GI) will be run beneath the Twin Spires for the 137th consecutive year on Friday, Nov. 25.
HAVELOCK HAS FIRST WORK SINCE WOODFORD WIN – Silverton Hill LLC’s Havelock, winner of the Woodford (GIII) at Keeneland in his most recent start, worked five furlongs in 1:05.80 shortly after the track opened at 6 o’clock Sunday morning.
The work was the 44th fastest of 47 at the distance but trainer Darrin Miller was not looking for any bullet effort.
“That comes in a couple of weeks,” Miller said with a laugh referring to the 4-year-old gelding’s anticipated start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII). “He got across the ground good and relaxed. It was his first work back from the Woodford and he was comfortable out there and looked relaxed.”
Miller’s 17-year-old son Chase was aboard for the work and is expected to be in the saddle next Sunday when Havelock has his final work for the Breeders’ Cup.
Havelock has won his past three sprints on grass at 5 ½ furlongs, but the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint is run at five furlongs, which is a concern to Miller for his late-running star.
“He has won at five-eighths before, but not against the kind of field he’ll face here,” Miller said. “He has improved this year and I feel better about him after his last two sprint races.”
Havelock is following in the footsteps of another Silverton Hill runner, St. Joe, who turned into a solid turf sprinter in 2009 as a 4-year-old when he won two five-furlong dashes on the grass at Churchill Downs and ran third in the Arlington Sprint Handicap, a race that Havelock won this summer.
St. Joe has won 8 of 29 career starts and earned $267,652, but is not in Havelock’s league according to Miller.
“This horse has a little more class than St. Joe,” Miller said.
PRIORESS WINNER HER SMILE HEADS LIST OF CHILUKKI NOMINATIONS – Bobby Flay’s Grade I-winning filly Her Smile leads a group of 26 nominees for the 26th running of the $150,000-added Chilukki (GII) for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the main track at Churchill Downs scheduled to be run as part of the Breeders’ Cup Saturday undercard Nov. 5.
Previously owned by her breeder William Backer, Her Smile was purchased by Flay shortly after finishing second in the Comely (GIII) at Aqueduct with the goal of competing in the Kentucky Oaks (GI). The dark bay or brown daughter of Include would run in the Oaks, but was never a factor and finished 11th in the field of 13.
Her Smile would prove herself to be a smart purchase shortly after the Oaks with two impressive performances at Belmont Park, a third in the Acorn (GI) and a victory in the Prioress (GI). After disappointing efforts in her previous two starts, the Todd Pletcher-trained Her Smile is on schedule to attempt to rebound in the Chilukki and she breezed a half-mile Sunday morning at Churchill Downs in :48.20 in preparation for the race.
The eighth running of the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) is scheduled to kick off Breeders’ Cup World Championships weekend on Thursday, Nov. 3. The list of 24 nominations for the 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-olds to be run on the Matt Winn Turf Course is highlighted by a duo of Grade I winners: Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude and last year’s Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity winner J. B.’s Thunder.
Arnold Zetcher LLC’s Midnight Interlude has a record of 1-1-0 in four starts on turf including a win in the Tsunami Stakes at Hollywood Park and a narrow defeat to Banned in the Del Mar Derby (GII). Midnight Interlude was fourth as the favorite in his most recent start, the Oak Tree Derby (GII).
J. B.’s Thunder returned from a near 10-month layoff with a fourth place finish in an allowance over the turf at Saratoga. The bay son of Thunder Gulch, who races under the colors of Columbine Stable, was third in a 1 1/16 mile allowance race at Keeneland in his most recent start.
The 19th running of the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on the main track to be run as part of the Breeders’ Cup Friday undercard Nov. 4 closed with 27 nominations led by dual Grade I winner Giant Oak. The Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak, who was promoted to first place in the Clark Handicap (GI) beneath the Twin Spires during the 2010 Fall Meet, captured the Donn Handicap (GI) this year. The Donn Handicap is the lone victory of the year for the 5-year-old chestnut son of Giant’s Causeway.
Weights for the Ack Ack Handicap will be announced Friday.
Closing out Breeders’ Cup weekend on Sunday, Nov. 6 is the 38th running of the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII). The list of 29 nominations for the 1 1/8 mile race for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up to be run on the Matt Winn Turf Course is headed by Just a Game (GI) winner C. S. Silk. Owned by William Pacella, George Bonomo and Fred Barbara, the 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro boasts a record of 2-1-1 in five lifetime starts over the Matt Winn Turf Course including a third in the 2010 Locust Grove (GIII).
Weights for the Cardinal Handicap will be announced next Sunday, Oct. 30.
BARN TALK – Several horses trained by Todd Pletcher, including Mike Repole’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) hopefuls Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty, are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday at approximately 10 a.m. EDT and be stabled in Barn 34. …
Making the rounds on the backstretch Sunday morning was jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. Bridgmohan, who sustained a broken collarbone in a spill at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 10, is planning to ride on the opening-day card here next Sunday.
WORK TAB – Cathy and Bob Zollars’ Daddy Nose Best, a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GII), worked five furlongs on the main track in 1:02.20 for trainer Steve Asmussen. The work was the 18th fastest of 47 at the distance. …
At the nearby Trackside Training Center, trainer Mike Maker worked three possible Breeders’ Cup runners. Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Headache (Classic) covered five furlongs in 1:01.20 over a fast track, the fifth fastest of 24 at the distance. Also working were Marathon hopefuls Baryshnikov, owned by Jeffrey Columbro and Connie Apostelos, and Tom and Jack Conway’s Stately Victor. Baryshnikov worked in 1:00.80 (third fastest of 24) and Stately Victor in 1:01.40 (seventh fastest of 24). Maker also worked Tracy Farmer’s La Gran Bailadora, a nominee for the Nov. 6 Cardinal Handicap (GIII). Third in the Juddmonte Spinster (GI) in her most recent start, La Gran Bailadora worked five furlongs in 1:03.40.